First professional goal was a dream come true for Burnley FC winger Dwight McNeil

Scoring his first professional goal was a dream come true for teenage Clarets winger Dwight McNeil.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 10:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 3:34 am
Burnley's Dwight McNeil takes on West Ham United's Grady Diangana

The 19-year-old, who joined Burnley's academy from Manchester United in 2014, opened his account for the club on only his second start in the Premier League.

Last season's young player of the year, who was invited to train with England's under-20 squad in October, wrapped up a vital three points for Sean Dyche's side at the weekend, guiding Ashley Westwood's cross beyond West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in the 34th minute.

"At first, I didn’t think my goal had gone in, but when it did, it was a dream come true," said the youngster.

"I’ve dreamt of that since I was a kid. It was fantastic when it went in. When the ball came across, I was just thinking: Make a good, clean contact on it and hit it low.

"It was an unbelievable feeling. I couldn’t believe it at first. But I was really happy. I didn’t know what to do to celebrate. My family were all here to see it, which was a massive bonus."

McNeil made his first appearance for the senior side in the final game of 2017/18, replacing Aaron Lennon in the 89th minute against AFC Bournemouth at Turf Moor.

He signed professional terms that summer and made his full debut against Olympiakos in the Europa League play-offs in August before being handed his first start in the top flight against his former club.

And he's enjoyed being a part of it all. "It’s all happened so fast," he said. "It’s just about taking it on now.

"I’ve been around the squad for a while now, but when you get the opportunity, you’ve got to take it. I’ve got to kick on.

"I found out [about playing] on Saturday. It was just another game. You’ve got to treat it like any other game, no matter who it’s against.

"You’ve got to take it and do what you do. There was a bit of pressure going into the game. You could feel it. But I think the lads dealt with it really well, and it took care of itself."